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Geronimo Canyon, AZ

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Guide 7 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions NW
3.4 of 5 by 5
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 1.35 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,760 feet
Elevation Gain 374 feet
Accumulated Gain 384 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1 - 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 3.27
Interest Off Trail Hiking
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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10  2018-03-16 te_wa
20  2012-03-19 sirena
44  2011-12-23 Vaporman
14  2011-12-23 suzaz
34  2007-12-16 kanode
14  2004-03-08 joebartels
12  2002-03-02 joebartels
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,825
Trips 4,261 map ( 21,471 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jan, Feb, Dec, Mar → 10 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:13am - 6:24pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Spicy Blackened Oasis
by joebartels

A ravine shoots south from the Tortilla Flat sign, just west of the tourist strip. From SR88 this mini etched canyon in the landscape goes up to Geronimo Head. Here we explore the lower ravine.

There's parking room for one, maybe two cars on the north shoulder of SR88. Don't do it or you'll likely get a $75 ticket. Instead hike over from the auxiliary lot southeast of Tortilla Flat. Immediately head into the ravine going south of the highway. No maintained trails exist on this adventure. There is a good use trail on the eastern bank. Not knowing this I forged up the ravine. Medium to small sized boulders are easily negotiated. Bushwhacking must appeal to those that apply. Boots and jeans are your only option for survival in this desert jungle.

After a short fifteen minutes of scrambling you are rewarded with a nice view of a tall dryfall. A few more paces bring you to a small cave on your right. The cave is small and nothing exciting. A bum with a keen alcoholic fetish appeared to be occupying the space. Tidy though, broom and all.

Back down in the ravine just up creek from the cave sits a beauty. A swimming hole appears to be probable. It's actually too small for swimming so let's not get excited. With bone-dry conditions I could only imagine water shooting down the waterslide.

Another fifteen minutes or so up the ravine is the real gem. The ravine turns into a mini boxed in slot. It's a short lived journey into the abyss. A sketchy finger grip dangle is necessary to reach the upper deck. It's debatable whether the view back down is worth the risk. If the creek were roaring you'd be washed down in a flash.

It's unlikely you'll ever want to take on this mini adventure. Back in January I viewed this intriguing area from above. Curiosity got the best of me. As mentioned earlier there is a use trail fairly high above the eastern bank. It's a bushwhack with many pricklies along the way. If you wish to explore further on up the ravine... the "right" side of the boxed in slot is your ticket. I didn't go further as this seemed to be the last hurrah from my photos looking down on the area.

Note: for details on the canyoneering version see Headdress Canyon

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2002-03-02 joebartels
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Geronimo Canyon
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    up from the parking area, we stayed in creek mostly to enjoy the experience. after all, off trail is the goal here. we climbed to the jam section, up to the impassable (to us) 25' dryfall. back out and to the east, we left geronimo and kept going up the sometimes bushy hillside/canyon to reach the trail for geronimo head. had lunch at the saddle, looking down into geronimo canyon proper. decided to go southeast, pick up the first drainage headed towards tortilla, and eventually dumped into geronimo again, just a couple hundred feet from the road.
    nice little off trail scramble in the area.
    Geronimo Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Quick loop with a nonstandard approach - nearly hit the Labarge saddle. Bypassed the first rappel, then climbed around the optional 2nd rap. The 3rd rap (only one we did) is nice, Joe described it as a "hidden gem" and he is right!

    For those geologists, there are some really cool hoodoos like you typically find up around the AZ-Utah border hiding in this corner of the Supes. Awesome! Managed to stay dry, but many will want wetsuits when this is flowing.
    Geronimo Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    My buddy Clint recently descended this sweet canyon and shared the beta naming it Headdress Canyon. The approach was still a work in progress so we opted to try a lower approach and thankfully it worked. :D Such funky & colorful volcanic rock and scenic views along the way! The canyon was still flowing lightly and the first 20ft rappel was into a super chilly swimmer. :o Some down climbs later and we found a nice sunny spot to warm back up. 8) There was an optional 20ft waterfall rappel into another pool but we opted for the easy bypass. Just below that was a box canyon with a 60ft rappel from below a suspended rock pile. The box canyon was pretty sweet & tall though some tricky down climbs was all it took to exit it. The rest of the canyon was mucho bushwhacking, down climbing, and rock hopping but it was scenic & sunny so it was enjoyable & pleasant. :sweat:
    Geronimo Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I disagree with Joe re: "It's unlikely you'll ever want to take on this mini adventure." This hike has great photo opportunities--especially when there's water flowing. ( I took 93.) It's not worth a trip just for it but it's a good companion hike with the La Barge Canyon View hike. The trailheads are close together and my endpoints on both hikes were only 0.3 miles apart.

    Joe's "mini boxed in slot" was a water fall with several knee high pools of water below it.

    Surprising for the closeness of this hike to the road and Tortilla Flat, I didn't see any trash. (Maybe the rains washed all the trash away.)

    I didn't have to do any creek bed hiking. I took the use trail on the east bank the whole way. It's overgrown in places and sometimes hard to follow but there are a few cairns here and there.

    I had lots of problems taking photos due to lens flare. Most of the scenery is up and to the south--very close to the low the December sun. I found that if I took two photos of the same scene the flares are in different spots. I then photo-merged them in Photoshop 10. This aligns them and Photoshop tends to use the content and ignore the flare.
    Geronimo Canyon
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    I didn't go further as this seemed to be the last hurrah from my photos looking down on the area.

    Slight understatement :lol:

    I started scouting out a short approach to Geronimo Head. Which panned out great. Plus I found an even better approach for future trips.

    Upon reaching the area I call LaBarge Canyon View I switched up my destination. Four days after the 2.5 inch rainfall I wasn't expecting to see much "running" water. La Barge was down to a trickle between puddles. So I decided to head down Geronimo's Ravine and check out the "Upper" ravine I missed out in the past.

    Nothing over exciting in the ravine but the surrounding cliffs are sweet. I made it down to what I thought was the choked out section I couldn't negotiate on my previous trip to the area. Only to find out there's a 20-25 foot fall just above the choked out section. The water was only maybe 5 gallons per minute. What made it cool is I doubt many people have seen this area. You wouldn't see it going up because you'd bypass the area at the choke. And who comes down this ravine if they aren't going up it!

    Not excited about the bushwhack down the lower ravine I skirted off east. There was some fun easy rock climbing but I ended up in more bushes so that part didn't pan out. At least I know another area to avoid :o

    I came out on SR88 at a fifteen foot drop which was a slide of pebbles. Timing was critical as the cars whizzed by every second. They probably thought I was nuts :lol:

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Tortilla Flat Trailhead
    From Idaho Road & SR-88 follow SR-88 east 17.0 miles to Tortilla Flat. Continue just past the buildings and before the bridge-less flood ravine. On the south side of the road near the museum follow a road that rises up. This takes you up to an overflow parking lot where hikers are allowed to park. If you are parking overnight fill out a free permit as stated on the sign.

    Parking elsewhere has been reported by members as a $75 ticket from the Forest Service.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 52.0 mi - about 1 hour 10 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 145 mi - about 2 hours 27 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 196 mi - about 3 hours 14 mins
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